The video analytics team at AT&T Labs has joined forces with our National Drone Team to bring automated cell tower inspections a step closer to reality as it maintains its inventory of 65,000 cell towers.
“With automation in the mix, we can do the job faster, better and more efficiently. With regulatory changes and further research, we hope that automated inspections will be possible,” said Mazin Gilbert – vice president of Advanced Technology at AT&T Labs.
AT&T envisions a future where a drone stationed by a cell tower will charges itself, inspects the tower, communicates the condition of the tower and repairs it.
“What we’re investigating is similar to what’s been happening with driverless cars. The ultimate goal is full automation, but we’re not there yet,” Gilbert said. “We created a deep learning-based algorithm that analyzes video footage and shows promise in detecting defects and anomalies. We’re investigating how drones can be used to inspect these towers and feed HD video to our technicians, who can view the video in real-time.”